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Farm Environment Plans

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 at 9:30pm


Over the last 12 months, the government has introduced many new on-farm requirements to help reduce environmental risk, reduce soil erosion and improve freshwater quality in New Zealand.  As part of these resource management regulations, all New Zealand farms are required to have a Farm Environment Plan (FEP), a tool to assess environmental risks and set out a programme to manage those risks.  

FEPs are unique to a property and reflect the local climate and soils, the type of farming operation, and the goals and aspirations of the land user. The level of complexity of an FEP will largely depend on how much farm system change is underway or being considered.

Examples of what information is in an FEP include a Farm Map, showing the areas of environmental risks, and Good Management Practices (GMP) the farmer intends to implement on-farm to manage the identified risks.

The benefit of this type of plan is that farmers can record progress towards achieving GMP and show they‘re doing the right thing.

FEPs are not too complicated, there are templates provided on council websites or farmers can use a Fonterra consultant or another qualified rural practitioner to help fill out the required fields.

In the near future, FEPs will need to be signed off by a Certified Farm Environment Planner (CFEP).  However, it's a good idea for farmers to get started on the template themselves to save time and money. Farm Environment Plans may also be submitted through a Certified Industry Scheme.

Over the next couple of years, workshops will be held by various industry groups around the catchments to help farmers prepare FEPs.   At these workshops, farmers can talk with experts, farm advisors, and other farmers to get some ideas about reducing risk on-farm, answer questions and get a head start on plans.  Talk to your local regional council for more details.